Matthew Walker, Water Efficiency Project Coordinator, Thames Water

Matthew talks about why it’s important for young people to learn about water consumption and why his company wanted to champion our H₂O Heroes programme.

I originated and run the Water Efficiency Schools Programme (WESP). It’s a schools project running across five London Boroughs and H₂O Heroes is a part of this.

There are two main reasons for schools to find ways of saving water. Firstly, the most important one: school students are the next generation of water consumers in this country and the people who will be paying water bills in the next 10 to 15 years.

We want to reach this influential community, so they can help conserve water resources in the immediate future. We want to help students understand water consumption and how their behaviour can help build more sustainable water supplies.

We want to reach this influential community

Secondly, schools are generally quite large sites, with lots of people using water throughout the year. We know from previous experience that there are opportunities for us to help the school reduce its water bills, so we offer a free water audit and a £500 budget for various fixes, including urinal control units and new push taps.

We also understand that schools are subject to many financial and regulatory pressures, so we aim to help schools reduce the amount of water they use with minimum disruption and maximum engagement with students and the school community. We do this completely free of charge.

For many, reducing water consumption does not take a high priority because water is cheap and most people believe that there is plenty of water to go around. People might think that it’s difficult or expensive to make plumbing changes. In particular, schools and households are likely to be more concerned about saving energy because this is more costly.

there are plenty of ways communities can reduce water consumption through simple changes

Also, many people believe they are already water efficient and don’t need to make reductions. Our research has found that there are plenty of ways communities can reduce water consumption through simple changes to their behaviour and we can help them identify how they can achieve this.

The biggest use of water is hot water, so if people reduce the amount of hot water they use, they will also save on their energy bills.

Our programme helps in all of these areas by engaging the school's community in an easy and cost-free way, so that the outcomes of the project benefit the whole community.

Find out more about our H₂O Heroes programme